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General Chat Thread, Work experience kid in General; I'm getting a work experience kid for a full week in June. All the info I have is he is ...
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    Work experience kid

    I'm getting a work experience kid for a full week in June.
    All the info I have is he is 15 and doing GCSEs and has an interest in IT
    What tasks can I give him to do? I can get him to dismantle / build a PC etc, install Windows, Linux etc. But as I've got him for 37 hours I want to keep him stimulated. Also I'm in the private sector. Cheers for any suggestions!

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    Creating 'How to' guides for software?

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    RichCowell's Avatar
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    Stock room / supplies / spares audit... nightmare of a job usually, but worthwhile...

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    unixman_again's Avatar
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    When I had one, I pointed him at Build a Six-headed, Six-user Linux System LG #124 and our box of assorted bits and asked him to see if he could get it running. He managed a four head system. I then suggested he might like to push it and explore the limitations, and write it up as a business case. This gave him something lasting that he could wave at employees and universities. He now works as a developer for Redhat.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Tidying up server cabinet and making cables...

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    Inventory. Anything to avoid doing it yourself :P

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    SiliconAlley_Sam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unixman_again View Post
    When I had one, I pointed him at Build a Six-headed, Six-user Linux System LG #124 and our box of assorted bits and asked him to see if he could get it running. He managed a four head system. I then suggested he might like to push it and explore the limitations, and write it up as a business case. This gave him something lasting that he could wave at employees and universities. He now works as a developer for Redhat.
    That's awesome

    Think it very much depends on the skill set of the individual. We've had work experience kids in who really have had an interest in IT where we've been able to really push and challenge them and others where the interest was probably limited to playing Football Manager.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichCowell View Post
    Stock room / supplies / spares audit... nightmare of a job usually, but worthwhile...
    Stock room?? SPARES???? lol

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    Galway's Avatar
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    Id be doing whatever management or your line manager tell you to do, unless your paid and responsible for staff
    Last edited by Galway; 22nd May 2014 at 10:55 AM.

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    RichCowell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visioN View Post
    Stock room?? SPARES???? lol
    Shouldn't I have mentioned that? Doesn't everyone have two store rooms, one adjoining their office with a mini-kitchen?
    Last edited by RichCowell; 22nd May 2014 at 11:16 AM.

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    I might have one too soon. Ive got laptops and computers to be imaged.
    Also going to teach them about IWBs and projectors

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    Joanne's Avatar
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    I always got work experience kids to do audits and re-imaging. Basically, anything I hated. Then as a reward, they could have a look at the server.

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    Work experience is about experiencing what it's like to do that job. Sticking them in a stock room all day isn't representative of day to day work. Obviously they can't do the high level stuff or anything involving customer systems without supervision but if you can find them a list of 'busy work' tasks to do in between scheduled tasks it's better than giving them menial jobs all the time.

    So in a technical support team for example, you can't put work experience kids on actual cases, but they CAN listen to calls and they can perform an administrative role in answering the phone to customers and transferring calls to engineers. They can be given training on what to say, how to transfer calls - they're really important skills they don't learn in school. How to speak to customers in a professional way is a dying art based on the attitude of sales assistants in high street shops these days lol.

    You can give them a PC with virtualbox on it and set a list of tasks, although the WEK might need training - depends on their level of skill.

    I did my work experience at the city library and they'd planned a full schedule of various activities that gave me a full picture of what working in that environment was like. I was taught how to shelve returned books using the Dewey Decimal system, I was taught how to issue books and collect overdue fines. I spent half a day in the repair workshop learning how they repaired and rebound damaged books. I spent a day in 'the stacks' and reference collection. I went out on the book bus. I believe I spent a half a day with the buyers. It was a very full couple of weeks. Every day had repetitive tasks like shelving and issuing but these were important to the job and were interspersed with 'specialised activities'. When I went back to school people that had been placed in high street shops had largely spent the time in the stock room 'out the way' and were generally pretty disappointed with their experience. People that had gone to offices said they spent most of their time bored out of their skull doing filing and making tea. I felt bad for them. During my work experience I really felt as though I actually worked there. This should be the experience you should strive to give the WEK because as an industry sector we WANT school kids to think about working in the IT industry. We WANT them to identify an area they might want to tailor their college or uni applications towards. Having them tidy the server room for a week isn't going to do that.

    Have you got a list of tasks you've been putting off because you could put together a schedule that intersperses the 'daily stuff' with the 'out of the ordinary' stuff.

    So, for example:

    Monday: Install OS of choice, get machine up to date and access to the internet. Listen to support calls. Assist in repair of hardware X or involve WEK in common 'manual' tasks like making cables (both straight and crossover). The WEK should go with you to staff meetings.
    Tuesday: Support calls in the morning. Phone training. Answering phones to customers and transferring them to engineers. Afternoon off the phones assisting someone with Server room maintenance.
    Wednesday: Stock inventory and asset registration update.
    Thursday: Sit with second line engineers (if applicable), then spend the afternoon repairing/cleaning hardware (if this is what you do).
    Friday: Spend a couple of hours with Support engineers - they might be ready to answer some questions themselves. If not, listen in. Customer site visit perhaps? If you have an accommodating customer and a good relationship with your contact?

    It's always fun for WEKs to get to keep little things - like that 3" long patch cable they made after starting with 1m of cable and getting it wrong a lot. Or a bootable Linux USB stick they built.

    Work Experience isn't about having fun all the time but it does have to be representative of the work you do.
    Last edited by AMLightfoot; 22nd May 2014 at 11:49 AM.

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    As AMLightfoot rightly says, it should be an actual representation. So whilst constant filing or stocktaking isn't representative of the actual job, nor is sitting them down for 37 hours doing cherry picked "exciting" stuff either.
    Get them to mirror you, work with you, show them some examples of things (create them if necessary) they might be expected to do; check some network patch leads or runs, make a couple of cables perhaps, even let them sit and watch whilst you spend an hour emailing round getting quotes or information. For quotes, get them to help; list of websites to visits and things to look for to feed back to you with. It's not all fun, they need to be fully aware of the boring parts as well as getting hands dirty. Cleaning/general maintenance will be good too, projectors in schools is a good one, perhaps some routine maintenance of printers, checking ink levels etc.

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    I'm getting a work experience lad from our current Year 11 in June too.

    I'm going to get him to shadow me for a bit, so I'll give him a tour of our server room and show him our network (both physical and virtual). He'll also shadow my techs for a bit then I'll get him to DBAN some of our old servers and get a lot of our old tat ready for disposal.

    He can also tear down some laptops and desktops and see how they work, and there'll be other things to do too.

    It's going to be a full week. No photocopying involved.

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